Winston Peters: When Spin Runs Thin
When Spin Runs Thin
Panmure Yacht Club, 104 Kings Rd, Panmure, Auckland
Saturday 16 August, 2pm
What a week in politics.
And what a hash #teamkey has made of things.
The book ‘Dirty Politics’ by Nicky Hager is not so much a book but an anthology of communications within the National Party and Government, and it goes all the way to the ninth floor of the Beehive and the Prime Minister’s office.
The book ‘Dirty Politics’ has many revelations but to mention just a few:
1. The misuse of the SIS. Every Official Information Act request to any ministry goes over the Minister for that ministry’s desk.
That is a procedure that is never departed from. So when the SIS received an OIA request, that request went to the Prime Minister’s desk.
For the Prime Minister to claim no knowledge of it, in the case of the Hon Phil Goff and his SIS briefing, simply is not credible. The procedure means that Mr Key had to know.
2. The Minister of Justice, Judith Collins, is exposed targeting a civil servant as being the alleged source of a leak.
She had no proof of this but she fed the name to a blogger, Cameron Slater, who began to repeat the allegation on his blog in a direct attack on the civil servant.
At the time, Judith Collins was leading an attack on cyber-bullying in our society.
The Prime Minister is on record as asking whether she did that – i.e. fed the name to the blogger – to which according to the Prime Minister, “she said no, so I believe her”.
This is the Minister at the centre of the Oravida scandal at which time Mr Key said she was on her last warning. Which begs the question, what sort of inquiry is it when you ask one question and against all the evidence, there is a denial, so you believe the denial.
The real question now is, what does Judith Collins have on the National Party that she is given such repeated preferential treatment.
3. There are parallels in this book with the Watergate scandal.
There was a planned break in, in the case of Watergate, and a planned break in in the case of the Labour Party HQ computers.
It doesn’t matter whether the Watergate premises or the Labour Party computers were locked down or not.
4. A man called Jason Ede was working in the Prime Minister’s office at the taxpayer’s expense, and it is clear that some of this was not legitimate parliamentary work.
What has not been linked, but is a fact, is that Jason Ede is well known to the National Party Campaign Manager, Minister Steven Joyce, because Ede worked for Minister Joyce when Ede started his career at Energy FM in New Plymouth.
5. Whatever you think of Nicky Hager, the author of ‘Dirty Politics’, we never the less owe him a debt for shining some sunlight on dirty, underhand politics.
6. The public will have observed Prime Minister Key, Minister Joyce, Minister Collins and sympathisers like Cameron Slater working themselves into a right lather, coordinating an attack to shoot the messenger.
That attack is bound to boomerang and come straight back to them because in this case, the message or should we say, thousands of messages, are all the National Party’s work, not Mr Hagers.
The National Party’s DNA, their fingerprints, their underhandedness and style of personal character assassination of their opponents, and sometimes their own, is all over this story.
This week Social Development Minister Paula Bennett launched an attack on loan sharks.
As many of you will know, Panmure, South and West Auckland have countless victims of loan sharks.
Paula Bennett bravely said to the loan sharks “we are coming after you. We’ve done it through legislation, now we are doing it through providing a product”.
Of course, that is merely dog-whistle politics because when the legislation passed through parliament, New Zealand First demanded there be a cap or interest limit to be put in the law.
The National Party refused to do so.
So the circumstances of Farrah Matthews in the Herald this week, needing a car for work, and paying nearly $30,000, including interest at 29.95%, for a $12,000 car, will keep going on.
The ‘rock-star’ economy
Everyone in this room knows that if you increase the size of a household, but not the income, everyone in the household is worse off.
So the same goes for a country.
That’s the problem that all voters face in this election.
There are numerous arguments about the issues of the day, but who’s talking about rapidly growing the economy to deal with the social issues of family poverty, health, education, and, historically and comparatively, massive unemployment and underemployment.
With 140,000 not getting one hour of work a week, and another 100,000 getting far too few hours of work a week, it is critical that sight is not lost of what New Zealand’s number one problem is.
Our economy, in real terms, when compared to our population, is shrinking, not growing.
So New Zealand First is focussed on economic policies that rapidly grow our export wealth, currency policies that mean exporters and the tourist industries, with a lower dollar, get to bring more money to, and keep more money in, the New Zealand economy.
That’s why we are focussing on R & D, tax encouragement for high tech industries, using our resources, and value-added products to rapidly expand our economy, not someone else’s.
A huge proportion of our GDP is foreign owned.
That means much of our limited growth is not benefitting New Zealand, but some other economy.
That’s why New Zealand First seeks to emulate countries like Norway, which is seriously nationalistic in their approach to their economy.
Much of Auckland’s troubles have their origins in an artificially inflated population, high demand and low supply of housing, health and education delivery, and now suffocating due to a lack of infrastructure.
Almost a third of New Zealand’s population lives in Auckland or the Auckland region.
Statistics NZ projections tells us that 60 per cent of New Zealand’s population growth over the next two decades will be in Auckland.
If ever the expression “too big to fail” applies – it is in connection with the future of this city and its people.
So in the face of all the problems and challenges confronting Auckland, what has been the response of successive governments?
They have allowed massive migration.
Auckland is already what demographers call a “Super Diverse City”.
Already our country has over 25 per cent of its inhabitants foreign born.
In the case of Auckland, foreign born account for 40 per cent of the population.
And yet no attempt has been made to plan or manage the immigration influx.
And now National are allowing record migration levels, this year, 41,000 net according to Treasury predictions.
One result of lax and unfocused immigration is that nearly half the influx in 2013 didn’t bring skills that our country desperately needs.
In recent years tens of thousands of elderly migrants who have no requirement to work in New Zealand have been part of the influx.
This week you will have seen predictions of our population’s median age getting seriously older.
Which begs the question, why don’t we have a sound immigration policy that brings in younger people and not those who increase the ageing problem.
Governments have deliberately ignored the fact that all migrants need housing and health care. And if they have children they will need to go to school.
What has happened is totally predictable – Auckland house prices have rocketed and governments have actually encouraged an out of control housing bubble in Auckland.
So in the face of all the evidence they have stubbornly refused to acknowledge the problem, which has worsened with massive sales of Auckland homes to foreign, offshore buyers.
When New Zealand First challenged the Prime Minister in Parliament, in his usual dismissive way he breezily asserted that “there is no housing crisis in Auckland”.
To simply allow tens of thousands of migrants at a time of intense housing pressure, and infrastructure demand, shows that whoever the government is working for, it is not you.
In the time honoured John Key style – whether we are talking immigration, housing, foreign ownership or dirty politics – he trivialises the issue and attacks personally those who question him.
Thus, Nicky Hager is a ‘rabid left-wing radical’.
Those questioning mass immigration are ‘racist’.
Those demanding a cessation of land sales to foreigners are ‘xenophobic’.
Auckland’s transport is a mess – the result of chronic under investment in public transport and worsened by a surging population.
Have Ministers spent too long in the back of Ministerial chauffeur-driven cars?
Just compare the extended peak hour times now in Auckland, and how much slower it is getting to your destination.
Much of Auckland in peak hours is a traffic jam.
In a survey published recently from 138 cities in six continents, the vehicle navigation firm TomTom found Auckland to be the world's 22nd most congested city.
In the recent Budget there was nothing for Auckland public transport – just billions more for roads.
Auckland is very poorly served by public transport.
Yet National has kicked the Auckland City Rail Link into some distant boundary.
National is saying “yes we support the project in principle – but we will not fund it till 2020”.
So the decision is being delayed for another government sometime in the future.
New Zealand First’s position is clear – this project is a basic part of the public transport infrastructure and needs to get under way as soon as possible.
We say start the City Rail Link as soon as feasible – and certainly no later than 2016.
In contrast to National, New Zealand First has policies that will deliver real improvement for Auckland:
• We will cut immigration to those we need, not those who need us.
• We will impose strict controls over foreign ownership in the areas of land, housing and strategic business assets.
• Under our policy, non-citizen/non-residents will simply not be allowed to buy New Zealand houses – the sensible policy that applies in many other countries.
• We will promote regional development so we have balanced economic growth throughout New Zealand, not just a lop sided expansion in Auckland where so many Aucklanders are left out, economically and socially.
• We will support an integrated transport strategy that gives a proper role to meeting roading needs, rail and public transport.
This election has seen the emergence of many pretenders.
Some have hideous amounts of money, in the millions, trying to buy the political outcome on September 20.
You have got some parties claiming now to be against the things that are your major concerns.
They say they are against foreign ownership, yet whether these voices are old or new, their record has been to encourage it.
Some even claim to be against foreign ownership whilst making their income managing foreign ownership interests in New Zealand.
In addition, we are a country and this is a city suffering from so much race-based preferential law which will do nothing for Maori or non-Maori.
It will merely benefit those who have used Maori numbers to make their claims in the first place.
New Zealand First is confident that you will see, with greater clarity now, what is going on and who they are, that rather than being a solution to the problem, are the very cause of it.
So much that’s on offer to you as voters just does not make common sense.
If it’s common sense that you want in this election then party vote New Zealand First.
It’s common sense.